Storm effects slow down business, government across the state

(Updated, Jan. 22, 10:02 a.m.) Between 5 and 10 inches of snow covered most of the state Wednesday morning after the overnight accumulation from Winter Storm Janus caused a number of public offices to change their hours and forced transportation delays in Rhode Island. More

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Storm effects slow down business, government across the state

BLOOMBERG FILE PHOTO/SCOTT EISEN
MANY RHODE ISLAND PUBLIC and private services were closed or delayed Wednesday morning after Winter Storm Janus dumped an estimated 8 to 12 inches of snow on the central part of the state, similar to Winter Storm Nemo nearly a year ago.
Posted 1/21/14

(Updated, Jan. 22, 11:27 a.m.)

PROVIDENCE – Between 5 and 10 inches of snow covered most of the state Wednesday morning after the overnight accumulation from Winter Storm Janus caused a number of public offices to change their hours and forced transportation delays in Rhode Island.

Seven flights out of T.F. Green Airport were canceled late Tuesday, as well as 19 early-morning flights on Wednesday, but as of 9 a.m. on Wednesday the majority of afternoon flights appeared to be on schedule. The R.I. Airport Corporation has recommended that travelers check with their airline for further scheduling changes, although the T.F. Green website has posted flight changes as well.

Providence Mayor Angel Taveras’ office issued advisories Tuesday afternoon that declared the Roger Williams Park Museum, Carousel and Botanical Center would be closed Wednesday, and the Roger Williams Park Zoo and the Bank of America Skating Rink would delay their openings until noon.

Earlier on Tuesday, the city canceled after-school activities and closed all schools and after-school activities for Wednesday. In addition, all city recreation centers were closed for Tuesday and Wednesday. For up-to-date information, the mayor’s office recommended following the Twitter accounts of Taveras (@angel_taveras) and the Providence Emergency Management Agency (@pema591).

Shortly before 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee put the state’s adverse weather policy into effect, beginning with government worker shifts between 2:52 p.m. Tuesday and ending at noon on Wednesday. The effect of this policy is the ability of state workers to use annual leave, personal leave or leave without pay if they are unable to complete their work schedule, with approval of a supervisor.

Chafee emphasized that the state would remain in full operation throughout the duration of the storm. In fact, the governor’s attendance at the ribbon-cutting of a rebuilt Sam’s Club store in Warwick set for 4 p.m. on Wednesday was still on his schedule as of late afternoon.

Unemployment insurance and temporary disability insurance call centers – normally open from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Wednesdays – will be closed Wednesday, Jan. 22. Individuals may still file an insurance claim online at www.dlt.ri.gov, and those needing to certify for their weekly payments may still use teleserve by calling (401) 243-9600. Individuals can use the temporary disability insurance automated phone system to update their claim status information by calling (401) 462-8420.

The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority said it would curtail service Tuesday and Wednesday, telling riders to expect delays of 30 minutes due to dangerous road conditions, as well as canceling all Ride Program services, except for “Americans with Disabilities Act and vital medical trips.” As of 8:15 a.m. on Wednesday, RIPTA had detoured five bus routes until further notice. The transit authority suggested that riders check its website, www.RIPTA.com, follow its Facebook page and Twitter account (@RIPTA_RI) accounts, and sign up for electronic news updates at www.RIPTA.com/detours-news.

The R.I. House of Representatives canceled its Tuesday session, although the Senate went ahead with its scheduled meetings and a 3 p.m. news conference to announce its initiative to help drive better connections and education opportunities for Rhode Island businesses and potential workers.

A number of businesses changed their plans because of the storm as well. The Washington Trust Co. announced Wednesday morning that it would delay the opening of all Washington Trust branches, mortgage offices and wealth management offices in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts until 11 a.m. Tesla Motors had been planning a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of its first Supercharger station in the Ocean State at 1000 Division St. in East Greenwich, which will consist of eight charging stalls capable of replenishing a Tesla Model S battery with half a charge in 20 minutes at no cost to the car owner.

South County Hospital announced cancellations or late openings for a number of services on Wednesday and suggested that patients check the hospital’s website, SCHospital.com for more up-to-date information.

The National Weather Service predicted snowfall would continue through Wednesday morning for a total potential accumulation of 8 to 12 inches. The temperature high on Wednesday was projected to be 18 degrees, with high winds.

AAA Southern New England recommended that individuals who needed to travel equip their vehicles with an emergency kit including the following items:

  • Flashlight – A flashlight should be kept where the driver can access it without leaving the vehicle. Also carry spare batteries.

  • Jumper cables – Jumper cables or a portable jump-start pack can be important tools for starting vehicles with weak or dead batteries, but should only be used by individuals who are familiar with the proper safety precautions.

  • Abrasive material – When a vehicle becomes stuck in snow or ice, sand or non-clumping cat litter can be spread under the drive wheels to improve traction.

  • Shovel – A shovel can be used to carefully dig snow away from a vehicle’s wheels.

  • Warning devices – If a driver is broken down or stuck, flares or reflective triangles alert other motorists. These should be placed at least 100 feet from the rear of the car.

  • Blankets – Blankets can provide valuable protection against the cold and comfort until help arrives.

  • Snow brush/ice scraper – Using one of these tools helps clear windows and lights of ice and snow in order to maintain adequate visibility.

  • Medication and snacks – Keep a small quantity of necessary medication and snacks in the car just in case you are stranded.

  • Cell phone – A fully charged cell phone is helpful when a motorist needs assistance in the event of a breakdown. Keep a cell phone charger handy as well.

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